Chinese American, born and raised in Boston, live and work in New York. I like thick-skinned dumplings, flip flops, baseball, and sour gummy worms. I write about things, sometimes snarkily. I review things, sometimes with opinions. And I do the Twitter thing @lilyvwong
The Cambodian Dancer: Sophany’s Gift of Hope is a beautiful children’s picture book about a young Cambodian girl forced to leave her country who finds strength in traditional dance steps. The illustrations are well-done and in a style that matches the spirit of the book’s title character Sophany. Though not written by a Cambodian, it is based on the true story of a friend of the author. As to be expected, the book only lightly touches […] Continue »
Jade Chang’s novel The Wangs vs. The World follows one crazy Chinese American family as they try to piece their lives back together after the economic recession of 2008. Mr. Charles Wang is a self-made man who immigrated from Taiwan and made a fortune with his beauty product empire. But a series of bad choices leaves him completely emptied out (house and cars included). His family, including his second wife and three (almost all) adult children […] Continue »
Peter Ho Davies’ latest novel The Fortunes traverses 150 years of Chinese American history through the stories of four characters. Beginning with Ah Ling, biracial servant to railroad baron Charles Crocker in the late nineteenth century, the book moves on to Anna May Wong in the 1930s, then to a friend of Vincent Chin who was murdered in Detroit in 1982, and lastly to a biracial father about to adopt a daughter from China. These four […] Continue »
Author of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop and Who We Be, Jeff Chang’s latest book We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation is an incisive series of essays looking at race in America. Drawing on recent events, including Donald Trump, Black Lives Matter, and #oscarssowhite, Chang outlines a contemporary crisis around issues of race, division, and a repeating cycle that needs to be halt. We Gon’ Be Alright is, at its heart, a call to action. But it […] Continue »
Aubergine, a new play written by Julia Cho, opens today at Playwrights Horizons in New York City. Running through October 2, it’s an emotional story about family, death, and food. Ray’s father is home on hospice with his son Ray, a first-generation Korean American chef, who is struggling with how to manage and how to cope. To notify his father’s brother, he calls on his ex-girlfriend Cornelia to tell him in Korean. When his uncle unexpectedly shows up with a soup recipe, […] Continue »
It has been a good summer for fun-loving, ass-kicking Asian American superheroines, and if you’re not already, get on board for C.B. Lee’s Not Your Sidekick. Its biggest flaw? Being the first in the series, leaving us on the edge waiting to find out what happens to Jessica Tran (I did not realize I was getting myself into a cliffhanger until I was off the cliff and there were no pages left). Jessica is the daughter of mid-class […] Continue »
Currently starring in Broadway Bounty Hunter at Barrington Stage Company in the Berkshires, Scott Watanabe has had a long career as an actor, including roles in Allegiance and The Phantom of the Opera. In the tradition of 8Asians, we asked him eight questions and he offers some sage advice for those who aspire to the stage. Tell us a little about yourself, e.g. What’s your background? How did you get into acting? I was born in 1959 in […] Continue »
Green Card: A New Musical takes on immigrant artists and the American dream in a new musical from young director Dimo Kim. Playing at Theatre at St. Clement’s until August 26, it focuses on the story of Han, an actor and a South Korean immigrant living in Harlem with an expired visa who, as a result, can’t find work. And because he can’t find work, he can’t get an artists visa. Hijinks ensue. Han finds […] Continue »
Tahmina Anam’s The Bones of Grace is a beautifully written love letter that weaves in family, desire, and the fossil of a walking whale. Zubaida, the woman at the center of this novel, is on the eve of leaving her PhD program at Harvard when she falls in love with Elijah. After a whirlwind of days, she leaves for a paleontology dig, in search of an elusive fossil. After the dig falls apart, Z returns to her […] Continue »
Heroine Complex is an absolute delight. Also it starts with demon cupcakes and includes spam musubi, so what’s not to like. Evie Tanaka is a superhero’s sidekick / personal assistant / childhood best friend. Her boss / childhood best friend / beloved superheroine of San Francisco, Aveda Jupiter (born Annie Chang), kicks demon butt while Evie handles every imaginable detail in the background. But when Evie is asked to impersonate Aveda for a night, everything changes. […] Continue »
Rich and Pretty is not your average book about friendship, where everything is great, your friends can do no wrong, and everyone is beautiful. Ok, everyone is beautiful, at least it seems. But still, this is a book that offers a complicated look at a close friendship, between mostly best friends. Mostly because Sarah and Lauren met at age 11 and are now in their thirties, alternately casting backwards and forwards in their lives. It is delightful […] Continue »
Yi Shun Lai’s novel Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu delves into friendships, relationships, career crises, and how to deal with your mother. Written in a diary style, Marty Wu guides us through the ups and downs of her life. Working at an ad company in New York to pay the bills, Marty dreams of owning a small boutique costume shop. The problem? Her mother doesn’t seem to get her, support her, and […] Continue »
MoDare: Having lived in mainland China for nearly 3 years, I can tell you that I've never seen a place so full of absolute morons. The... – Are Asians the Smartest Race?
Lucius Clarus: I never said Asians didn't invent anything. That's your hallucination. Agree that the middle east contributed zero, algebra, arabic numerals. Those are real and valuable... – Are Asians the Smartest Race?
لا أحد مهم: Actually not 'could have been' but it definitely was. Lucius, please search the origin of 'shampoo' and 'bath' Even standards of basic hygiene were plagiarized... – Are Asians the Smartest Race?